One thing everyone needs for back-to-school is laundry detergent. Whether you are home, public or private schoolers, your darling students will be cranking out loads of dirty laundry!
In my quest for all things frugal, one item that was most elusive was laundry detergent. One of my girls is prone to eczema, so it has to be gentle. We don't purchase proctor and gamble products, effectively eliminating about 75% of the product selection. What is left is either too expensive, too harsh, or just doesn't work well.
Then in homeschool science we did an experiment making liquid laundry detergent. It was fun, frugal, gentle enough for my daughter's skin, but when it came to the really dirty stuff like the baseball pants that did a lot of sliding, it just didn't work very well. Plus. It was quite a process to make the stuff.
Enter the homemade powdered detergent. Frugal. Gentle. Easy to make and works on the dirtiest clothes. People. We have a winner!
This is so simple... 3 or 4 ingredients are all you need. Washing soda, borax and bar soap. Be sure it is washing soda (found in the laundry aisle) and not baking soda. The borax is also located in the laundry supplies. Two common brands of bar soap are Fels Naptha and Zout, once again in the laundry aisle. You can also use homemade soap or even Ivory. The optional fourth ingredient is Oxy clean or all fabric bleach powder. I do generally add this to mine.
Grate your bar of soap. I use a hand grater, as my food processor does not like that job. It really, really doesn't. Let the grated soap dry a bit.
In small batches, put the soap, washing soda, borax, and all fabric bleach into the food processor. Put a damp towel over your processor to keep the fine powder from escaping and pulse to break up any clumps. Dump the processed powder into your container and once you have de-clumped all your ingredients, mix thoroughly.
Ta-da! Tisn't it pretty? Now that you have the washing soda, borax and all fabric bleach, you have the ingredients for 4-6 months of laundry detergent. When making subsequent batches all you will need to purchase is the bar soap.
Powdered Laundry Detergent
1 bar Fels Naptha, Zout or homemade soap
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
1 cup all fabric bleach powder or oxy clean (optional)
- Grate the bar of soap, either by hand or with a food processor and allow to dry a few hours or overnight.
- Pulse each ingredient in the food processor to remove clumps and put it into a lidded container.
- Mix the processed ingredients well.
- Use 1-2 tablespoons per load.
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